What is the Narrow Gauge Preservation Foundation?
First established as the Narrow Gauge Trust in 2000, then incorporated as the Narrow Gauge Preservation Foundation in 2002, the Foundation is a non-profit public benefit corporation incorporated in the State of California. Its mission is to establish several interactive exhibits where the public can learn about the rich and significant history of narrow gauge railroading, and to support preservation efforts where possible.
The Foundation’s first priority is to establish a number of interactive exhibits where the narrow gauge story can be told using state-of-the-art video, models, pictures, artwork, and artifacts in ways that will be meaningful both to enthusiasts and to the general public. An exhibit in Chama, New Mexico, terminus of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, was the first. It opened in May, 2011, but closed in 2018. Future exhibit sites may include Golden, Colorado (home of the Colorado Railroad Museum) and Sacramento’s expansive California State Railroad Museum.
Each Exhibit includes interactive video presentations and models, dioramas, photographs, artwork, and artifacts of significance to the story being told. A secondary mission is to assist narrow gauge preservation effort s across North America. When resources are available, the Foundation evaluates the soundness and likelihood of success of such efforts, and channels donations to those that qualify.
The Foundation supports the efforts, past and current, of numerous existing museums and preservation organizations, and in no way seeks to compete with them. In fact the Foundation has made grants to several of these organizations to further their work of restoring irreplaceable equipment and structures. In establishing exhibits in rich historic narrow gauge locales, the Foundation seeks to tell a different story in the different way.
During its existence, the Foundation has made donations of over a million dollars to narrow gauge preservation efforts. These include the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway, the Colorado Railroad Museum, Friends of Engine 169, the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Railroad Foundation, and the Durango Railroad Historical Society.
One of the unique aspects of the NGPF is the use of matching grants to encourage the receiving parties to reach out to the public for support. Many of our grants require that the receiving agency establish within a set time frame, an equal number of individual new donations from members of the public, which not only shows support for the particular project, but also provides new sources of funding for the organization. As a result of this policy, organizations receiving our grants have reported increased donations. Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible, acknowledged and appreciated. By donating, you support a variety of worthwhile projects and thereby enhance preservation of Narrow Gauge. To date, the Foundation has spent less than five percent of its funds on administrative costs.
The NGPF Publishes a quarterly newsletter with information about the projects and activities of the Foundation. A sample issue is included – to read, click -> Preservation News